Should we fear Google?

I, for one, am thankful for our Google overlords!  All hail Google!

Hopefully their bot stops at that and will allow me to say anything I want without repercussions.

When Google started it was another in a long line of search engines.  I was still using Webcrawler (originally created by the University of Washington in Seattle), which was a pretty decent engine at the time.  I saw no need to change to anything else.  However, I had coworkers who were rapidly beginning to use it and I gave it a shot (after first trying googol.com [link opens using Archive.org’s Wayback Machine] since I was used to the large number of the same pronunciation).  I was hooked.  A simple search page (Google does what it can to maintain its main search page clean) which gave simple results.

Even today with all the craziness that you can have on a site, Google has maintained this simplicity but made the stuff behind the scenes better and better.  I start typing and my search organically updates as I type in new letters.  No need to wait to hit [Return] or click the Search button.

They’ve expanded their strength in search to images, maps, and all manner of other things.  Speaking of maps, I used to use MapsOnUs before it was bought by Microsoft.  I felt it allowed me more functionality than MapQuest.  Now, Google Maps is the clear best in class for this task.

They brought search to e-mail with their Gmail product.  I got in at first when you needed an invitation (those days are gone).  Because of Google’s large allowance for e-mail (currently over seven gigabytes), other e-mail services like Yahoo Mail and Microsoft’s Hotmail had to increase their limits beyond the paltry few megabytes that was typical.

The list goes on.  It’s getting to the point where if you need a task performed, Google may have a product for it.  Any predictions to when we’ll be filling up our Google car with Google fuel so we can drive down the Google road and run into the Google grocery store to buy Google branded foods?

You do have to be concerned if the company’s mantra of “do no evil” is going to be broken because the company just swallows up all in its path.  Didn’t we have this same fear of Microsoft?  Why was it bad for Microsoft to eat up companies and not Google?

I’m not the only one thinking it’s time to review our opinion of Google.  As much as I like Google’s products (yes, I’ll be getting an Android phone as soon as my budget allows), I do have to wonder if they’re starting to get a little too big.  I don’t want to have another behemoth like Microsoft that turns out to be a worse monster (while initially being a nice one).

So, if the powers that be at Google are actually reading this, I hope they’re taking care not to become a huge lumbering beast that needs to be cut like the old AT&T.

For a little mirth to start out the year, check out Robert X. Cringely’s predictions for 2011.

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